This scan actually is from a photocopy which is the only way it's going to be done by us anytime soon. The original is very fragile and was photocopied once years ago for use by researchers. This was just an experiment. Since our scanning contract involves shipping material 2 states over, the original would definitely not be done. You will see better reproductions in the other material we post although there will be one other catalogue scanned from a photocopy.
Since Davis' The Finest Instruments Ever Made lists our copy as the only one in existence, yes, as such "it's better than nothing." Our scanning project is actually for photographs - you can see an assortment on Flickr by searching for Otisarchives.
speaking for himself
Reviewer:Brian J Ford
February 10, 2008 Subject:
Not a bright beginning
There are many ways of tackling on-line access, and this example is not the best. By rendering the pages in high-contract monochrome, all imperfections (rubber stamps, tears, blemishes) become intrusive. It would be best systematically to retouch the pages as far as is consistent with authenticity. Pages reproduced in color (which these might as well be, since they've been scanned) would be preferable, and would prevent the blemishes from intruding. Worst of all, the pages are not even square on the screen. Many have been scanned as two-page spreads and - when one is at an angle to the other - the ease of reading is reduced.
The aim of putting these sources on-line is to give readers the chance remotely to consult original documents. These pages are nothing more than photocopies that give little impression of the vividness of an original.
Yes, it's better than nothing; but it's not as good as it should be. Even spare-time hobbyists manage to produce results that are better than this.